A friend sent me a link to a newspaper article http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/04/25/family-misses-flight-after-tsa-gives-pat-down-to-girl-with-cerebral-palsy/
because he knew I’d get upset… he had no idea.
The article states that a family, which included a young child with Cerebral Palsy, and is developmentally delayed, was flying to Disney World from Washington DC. The child, because she wears bilateral AFOs and uses forearm crutches, has to be go through a modified pat-down, and can’t go through the scanners. She is frightened by this, and the mother explained this to TSA and asked them to introduce themselves to the child. They didn’t do this, they just treating her aggressively. She became frightened. The agents started yelling at the girl and demanding that she be patted down and it frightened her even more.
A supervisor finally inspected her crutches and passed her through, but other agents followed the family and demanded that she go through a full inspection, and the family ultimately missed their flight.
The TSA reviewed the complaints after the incident and found that the agents behaved appropriately, in doing a modified pat-down on the child.
HUH? A supervisor clears her, and other agents chase down the family and frighten a disabled child, and it’s OKAY? Something isn’t right when one hand isn’t talking to the other hand.
I don’t fault TSA in doing security checks on everyone that gets on an airplane, I do not believe in the philosophy that just because you are disabled you should get a ‘free pass’, to the inspections, but the way the agents handled this could have been done in a much better manner. Sure, they had to do a pat-down on the girl, but they could have introduced themselves and explained what they were doing, instead of acting all aggressive and like thugs.
I would be seriously upset if I were just waved through security at the airport. ANYONE can be used to carry a bomb or gun or whatever through Security, but children can be handled in ways that make it so they aren’t frightened by the procedures. TSA needs new training and policies for children and especially disabled children.